Names and etymology
Jakarta has been home to multiple settlements along with their respective names:
- Sunda Kelapa (397–1527),
- Jayakarta (1527–1619),
- Batavia (1619–1949),
- Djakarta (1949–1972), and
- Jakarta (1972–present).
Its current name "Jakarta" derives from the word Jayakarta (Devanagari: जयकृत) which is ultimately derived from Sanskrit language; जय jaya (victorious) and कृत krta (accomplished, acquired), thus Jayakarta translates as "victorious deed", "complete act", or "complete victory" which literally, Jakarta means the "victorious city". It was named after troops of Fatahillah successfully defeated and drove away Portuguese invaders from the city in 1527. Before it was named "Jayakarta", the city was known as "Sunda Kelapa".
Jakarta is nicknamed the Big Durian, the thorny strongly-odored fruit native to the region, as the city is seen as the Indonesian equivalent of New York City (the Big Apple). In the colonial era, the city was also known as Koningin van het Oosten (Queen of the Orient), initially in the 17th century for the urban beauty of downtown Batavia's canals, mansions and ordered city layout. After expanding to the south in the 19th century, this nickname came to be more associated with the suburbs (e.g. Menteng and the area around Merdeka Square), with their wide lanes, many green spaces and villas.
The north coast area of western Java including Jakarta, was the location of prehistoric Buni culture that flourished around 400 BC to 100 AD. The area in and around modern Jakarta was part of the 4th century Sundanese kingdom of Tarumanagara, one of the oldest Hindu kingdoms in Indonesia. The area of North Jakarta around Tugu was a populated settlement since at least early 5th century. The Tugu inscription (probably written around 417 AD) discovered in Batutumbuh hamlet, Tugu village, Koja, North Jakarta, mentioned King Purnawarman of Tarumanagara undertook hydraulic projects; the irrigation and water drainage project of the Chandrabhaga river and the Gomati river near his capital. Following the decline of Tarumanagara, its territories, including the Jakarta area, became part of the Hindu Kingdom of Sunda. From 7th to early 13th century, the port of Sunda was within the sphere of influence of the Srivijaya maritime empire. According to the Chinese source, Chu-fan-chi, written circa 1225, Chou Ju-kua reported in the early 13th century Srivijaya still ruled Sumatra, the Malay peninsula and western Java (Sunda). The source reports the port of Sunda as strategic and thriving, mentioning pepper from Sunda as being among the best in quality. The people worked in agriculture and their houses were built on wooden piles. The harbour area became known as Sunda Kelapa (Sundanese: ᮞᮥᮔ᮪ᮓ ᮊᮜᮕ) and by the 14th century, it was a major trading port for the Sunda kingdom.
The first European fleet, four Portuguese ships from Malacca, arrived in 1513 when they were looking for a route for spices. The Sunda Kingdom made an alliance treaty with the Portuguese by allowing them to build a port in 1522 to defend against the rising power of Demak Sultanate from central Java. In 1527, Fatahillah, a Javanese general from Demak attacked and conquered Sunda Kelapa, driving out the Portuguese. Sunda Kelapa was renamed Jayakarta, and became a fiefdom of the Banten Sultanate which became a major Southeast Asia trading centre.
Through the relationship with Prince Jayawikarta of Banten Sultanate, Dutch ships arrived in 1596. In 1602, the English East India Company's first voyage, commanded by Sir James Lancaster, arrived in Aceh and sailed on to Banten where they were allowed to build a trading post. This site became the centre of English trade in Indonesia until 1682. Jayawikarta is thought to have made trading connections with the English merchants, rivals of the Dutch, by allowing them to build houses directly across from the Dutch buildings in 1615.
When relations between Prince Jayawikarta and the Dutch deteriorated, his soldiers attacked the Dutch fortress. His army and the English, however, were defeated by the Dutch, in part owing to the timely arrival of Jan Pieterszoon Coen. The Dutch burned the English fort, and forced them to retreat on their ships. The victory consolidated Dutch power and in 1619 they renamed the city Batavia.
Commercial opportunities in the city attracted native and especially Chinese and Arab immigrants. This sudden population increase created burdens on the city. Tensions grew as the colonial government tried to restrict Chinese migration through deportations. Following a revolt, 5,000 Chinese were massacred by the Dutch and natives on 9 October 1740 and the following year, Chinese inhabitants were moved to Glodok outside the city walls. At the beginning of the 19th century, around 400 Arabs and Moors lived in Batavia, a number which changed little during the following decades. Among the commodities traded, fabrics, especially imported cotton, batik and clothing worn by Arab communities.
The city began to expand further south as epidemics in 1835 and 1870 caused more people to move away from the port. The Koningsplein, now Merdeka Square was completed in 1818, the housing park of Menteng was started in 1913, and Kebayoran Baru was the last Dutch-built residential area. By 1930, Batavia had more than 500,000 inhabitants, including 37,067 Europeans. After World War II, the city of Batavia was renamed "Jakarta" (a short form of Jayakarta) by the Indonesian nationalists after achieving independence from the Dutch in 1949.
Following World War II, Indonesian Republicans withdrew from Allied-occupied Jakarta during their fight for independence and established their capital in Yogyakarta. In 1950, once independence was secured, Jakarta was once again made the national capital. Indonesia's founding president, Sukarno, envisaged Jakarta as a great international city, and instigated large government-funded projects with openly nationalistic and modernist architecture. Projects included a clover-leaf highway, a major boulevard (Jalan MH Thamrin-Sudirman), monuments such as The National Monument, Hotel Indonesia, a shopping centre, and a new parliament building. In October 1965, Jakarta was the site of an abortive coup attempt in which 6 top generals were killed, precipitating a violent anti-communist purge in which half a million people were killed, including many ethnic Chinese, and the beginning of Suharto's New Order. A monument stands where the generals' bodies were dumped.
Jalan Jenderal Sudirman, Jakarta's main avenue and business district
In 1966, Jakarta was declared a "special capital region" (Daerah Khusus Ibukota), thus gaining a status approximately equivalent to that of a province. Lieutenant General Ali Sadikin served as Governor from the mid-1960s commencement of the "New Order" until 1977; he rehabilitated roads and bridges, encouraged the arts, built several hospitals, and a large number of new schools. He also cleared out slum dwellers for new development projects—some for the benefit of the Suharto family—and tried to eliminate rickshaws and ban street vendors. He began control of migration to the city to stem overcrowding and poverty. Foreign investment contributed to a real estate boom that transformed the face of the city.
The boom ended with the 1997 Asian financial crisis, putting Jakarta at the centre of violence, protest, and political manoeuvring. After 32 years in power, support for President Suharto began to wane. Tensions reached a peak when 4 students were shot dead at Trisakti University by security forces; four days of riots and violence ensued that killed an estimated 1,200, and destroyed or damaged 6,000 buildings. Much of the rioting targeted Chinese Indonesians. Suharto resigned as president, and Jakarta has remained the focal point of democratic change in Indonesia. Jemaah Islamiah-connected bombings occurred almost annually in the city between 2000 and 2005, with another bombing in 2009.